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Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in…

Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany (1999)

by Hans J. Massaquoi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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One of the most impressive autobiographies I ever read. A gripping, honest account of the years leading up to World War II and surviving them in Hamburg, Germany. ( )
  elwetritsche | Mar 28, 2014 |
The fates seemed to be against Hans Massaquoi from the beginning, as he entered the world to an unwed, white, German mother and black Liberian father nearing the dawn of Nazi Germany. Despite the many trials, tribulations and emotions Massaquoi experienced, he survived. While the majority of the book is based in Nazi Germany, this recollection also follows Massaquoi to Liberia in search of life with his father and the United States in search of education and freedom. Escape from racism may be an impossible task. ( )
  Sovranty | Apr 8, 2013 |
Hans is the son of a German mother and a Liberian father, who survives the war relatively unscathed by the pervading political spirit of discrimination and persecution of "the other", largely thanks to the willingness of his own community to downplay his differences. Having avoided the fate of many other black Germans, particularly in the Rhineland, Hans finds himself caught up in the firebombing of Hamburg towards the end of the war.

Relatively speaking, there aren't many books about the black experience of Nazi Germany out there. I don't wish to offend anyone, but the market of first-hand Holocaust accounts is largely dominated with the Jewish story, and quite rightly so, in that the Jews were the largest single victim group. However, I'm intrigued by the experience of other minority groups and I would fully recommend this one as a great place to start for anyone sharing that interest. Gripping, profound and utterly memorable. ( )
1 vote pokarekareana | Jul 29, 2011 |
Of all the books I have listed here so far I value this one the most. How someone, who could not hide from the Nazi regime due to skin color, survive, is an extremely remarkable story. I recommend this book to black and white alike as a must read. ( )
1 vote ursamajor.lib | Oct 26, 2007 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Massaquoi, Hans J.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giordano, RalphAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmermann, KlausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wasel, UlrikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060959614, Paperback)

This is a story of the unexpected.In Destined to Witness, Hans Massaquoi has crafted a beautifully rendered memoir -- an astonishing true tale of how he came of age as a black child in Nazi Germany. The son of a prominent African and a German nurse, Hans remained behind with his mother when Hitler came to power, due to concerns about his fragile health, after his father returned to Liberia. Like other German boys, Hans went to school; like other German boys, he swiftly fell under the Fuhrer's spell. So he was crushed to learn that, as a black child, he was ineligible for the Hitler Youth. His path to a secondary education and an eventual profession was blocked. He now lived in fear that, at any moment, he might hear the Gestapo banging on the door -- or Allied bombs falling on his home. Ironic,, moving, and deeply human, Massaquoi's account of this lonely struggle for survival brims with courage and intelligence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:50 -0400)

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